John 10 and double predestination

By Luke Lancaster

Certain believers in the "reformed" position (sometimes called "Calvinism") will attempt to prove their doctrine of double predestination by referring to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. They will point out how Christ said to some unbelieving Jews, “The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep” (John 10:25-26). This, it is claimed, indicates that some people were chosen to be His sheep, and that some were not, meaning that they were predestined for that fate.

Scripture scholar I. Howard Marshall noted, however, that, “even in this context Jesus still urges his audience to believe [see John 10:38].” Those unbelieving Jews who were not apart of His sheep, Jesus still urges to believe. But if they were predestined to go to Hell, then why would Jesus urge them to still believe? It would seem that they were not his sheep due to their free choice to reject him. So, “it is…not because God did not give them the opportunity to be saved,” but because, “not everybody who hears responds to the offer with faith.”

Those who believe in Christ are currently Christ's sheep, it is not that they were certainly predestined and had no choice to reject Him. Similarly, those who are not Christ's sheep right now, could become Christ's sheep in the future, and that is why they are still urged to believe. God does predestine, but nobody knows who those who have been predestined are in this life. Only God knows, because He can see who will "persevere until the end" (Matt. 24:13).